Cloud-based computing is drastically changing how people do business in the modern world. Large scale operations like Amazon Web Services provide companies with massive data processing and analysis that would otherwise require the purchase and maintenance of cost- and space-prohibitive servers. The result is a new model for everything from scientific research to big data analysis to 3D graphic rendering. But cloud computing isn’t reserved solely for the big dogs. A number of software as a service (SaaS) solutions have emerged in the market today that can give small and mid-sized businesses a significant leg up. Here’s how cloud technology is changing our world.
When a business uses an SaaS platform, all of their important information exists in the cloud, and that greatly improves the mobility and flexibility of their staff. As a result, a work from home structure has become increasingly viable even for more modestly sized businesses. Conceivably, some business owners can significantly cut back the costs or remove entirely the need to maintain an office space, since all of their staff can access the information they need and communicate with the rest of the virtual office regardless of where they are. The incentive of this sort of cloud-based model also allows more modestly sized businesses to aggressively hire more talented staff. While not as extreme, this level of mobility also benefits the retail and restaurant industries. Through the use of cloud-connected tablets, servers can more easily reference changes to the menu and take orders right at the table, and store clerks can pull up stock, inventory, and pricing information without having to hunt down the information manually.
Giving Businesses a “Central Nervous System”
Point of sale software first developed as a way to ditch traditional cash registers and provide a more nuanced method for handling cash flow and credit card transactions, but in the past few years, new POS technology has grown into something of a central hub for practically every aspect of a business’ operations. Contemporary POS systems allow retailers and restaurateurs to track their inventory, collect important metrics on their customers, and oversee their spending and scheduling. There’s no doubt that cloud capabilities have contributed to this rapid growth. These cloud systems allow greater saturation by making more advanced software affordable to even the smallest businesses, and the service model results in a software platform that grows in features and accessibility as a matter of competitive necessity.
Removing Financial Barriers
Older technology often required business owners to invest in expensive and often specialized hardware and software, and the local model could mean buying new software every few years, maintaining costly servers, and keeping an IT professional on staff o on call. Even in cases where a business owner could afford this software and hardware, it wasn’t necessarily practical. Cloud-based software, which is typically funded through subscriptions, strips out the overhead and allows users to adapt and change the platforms they use without having to worry about losing a sizable initial investment in the process. That makes the financial barrier to trying new technologies far lower and gives business owners significantly more leverage to experiment with their business models.
Reaching out to customers in the modern day means having a web presence, and more and more users are relying on their phones and tablets to do their research and shopping rather than depending on traditional desktops and laptops. Cloud-based systems have made the ability to create and deploy an app easier and less expensive than ever before, and this type of software allows you to more readily unify your online presence with your storefront experience.